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Recap: SketchFest NYC - Opening Night - 6/9/05

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Hypnagogia - 7PM
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A central theme in Hypnagogia's performance was the struggle with and the acceptance of new technology in our lives. Whether it comes in the form of a lifeworn robot drinking gin alone while listening to his saddening answering machine messages or a revisionist take on Thomas Edison's first phonograph recordings, society assimilates technology with all its marvels and its shortfalls. The actors interfaced with videos and weaved post modernist performance art with comedy and wonderment. Hypnagogia's unique set owes more to the theatre of Bertolt Brecht or Erwin Piscator than it does that of Saturday Night Live.

Becky & Noelle - 8PM
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Knock Knock.
--Who's there?
I am.
--I am who?
Do we ever really know the answer to that?

Two young ladies dressed as conservative Russian women come on stage and pose that question. They lose the costumes and take to various instruments on the set--an old keyboard, an accordian, a lumberjack's saw. Becky & Noelle break into song and dance and sing tunes with titles like "Kurt Loder Sexual Swingset" and verses like "Horsebutt, horsebutt chicken and cheese!" It culminated in an ominous scene in which they both were holding Lemon Meringue pies. An older audience member in the front row jumped up when she thought she might become the target of the pie.

Killing My Lobster - 9PM
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San Francisco's Killing My Lobster was the first sold out show of the evening and the first performance of standardized sketch comedy of SketchFest. Color coordinated and brimming with mature confidence, they went into their bits and had the crowd in stitches. One of the highlights was an absurdist spelling bee in which a geeky student had to spell the word XYCERRIPTILINNN. Its definition had something to do with the "heir to the crystals of Damron." Another big laugh came from a poetry slam of Missed Connection posts on Craigslist. KML distributed nice little fridge magnets before the show too--that was a bonus.

Madame Funnypants - 10PM
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Negin Farsid and Alex Zalben delivered probably the most accessible set of the night. It was fast, it was smart without getting too weird, and it was kinetic. Their sketches frequently explored relationships between people from different lifestyles--An Upper Middle Class guy from Park Slope meets a Middle Class girl from Astoria, a regular joe falls in love with a fundamentalist burqa-clad Islamist, or two congressional reps from Wyoming coming together despite a sordid history of political differences (a sketch that would surely win big amongst a D.C. crowd). The above picture is of Negin and an evil baby.

Fearsome - 11PM
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Fearsome started out the show with a thinly veiled "self esteem boosting" song called "Come on me!" and continued with their sexually infused sketches like Dino Gyno - which is exactly what it sounds like, the Matchmaker Cabbie, and a neat scene in which the action gets rewinded and the scene takes alternate endings.

Whitest Kids U Know - 12AM
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Always great. Always on. In the above picture, two kids are playing a make believe game called Motorcycle Mamas despite the fact the kid in the back just wants to play Sega. The Whitest Kids have a great short video of a couple who wants to get pregnant and they're awaiting the results of the pregnancy test and we find out she peed on his iPod Shuffle. Oops!

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